By Maheesha Mudugamuwa
Housing and Samurdhi State Minister Dilan Perera yesterday said that he was ready for an open debate with former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L Peiris over his contradictory views regarding the drafting of the new constitution.
He told a media briefing in Colombo that Prof. Peiris had been writing articles complaining against the current efforts of the government to amend the constitution. But, Prof. Peiris himself tried to amend the constitution thrice, in 1995, 1997 and in 2000 under the former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s government, the Minister said.
“He drafted constitutions in 1995 and 1997 but only in 2000 he was successful in bringing the draft constitution to Parliament where the UNP government shot it down” Perera noted.
“I worked with Prof. Peiris as the Deputy Minister of Constitutional Affairs in 2000. Therefore, some of his statements made on the constitution making process at present are at variance with what he expressed in 2000,” Minister Perera stressed.
He noted that President Maithripala Sirisena had no intention of changing the unitary status of the country or the provisions related to Buddhism.
Minister Perera said President Sirisena also hadn’t any desire to seek advice from foreign countries to repeal the constitution and to create a situation that had faced the Maldives.
Asked whether the 13th Amendment would be included in the new constitution, Minister Perera stressed that there was a Supreme Court decision regarding the 13th amendment and it had further stated that the amendment had not changed the unitary character of the state.